Why WA needs a 10c Recycle Refund (For People and Marine Life)

Western Australia is on the brink of introducing a ten cent recycle refund (Container Deposit Scheme) for bottles and cans, a system that could increase recycling fourfold.

Whilst the State Government is still officially holding out faith in a five year negotiation with the Federal Government, increasing community pressure is now calling on them to commit to going it alone if the Federal process fails to deliver a result again this April.

WA has the worst overall recycling rate, and worst litter per capita, in mainland Australia, so we need to act.  For people, and to ensure WA’s contribution to marine plastic pollution – a problem that threatens to choke our oceans – is minimised.

Here is five very good reasons why all political parties should commit to a WA scheme instead of waiting around for Canberra:

1. Strong Public Support

Regular Newspolls record that 85-89% West Australians support a 10c recycle refund.  Support is continually increasing. 84% are willing to pay an extra refundable 10c per container for the program, even though an increase in drink prices may not occur.

2.  WA is worst for litter and recycling

Western Australia currently has the worst rate of recycling and highest rates of litter in mainland Australia.  WA’s recycling rate for cans and bottles is 23.5%.  South Australia, who have a recycle refund, have a  recycling rate for cans and bottles of 80%.

A recycle refund for drink containers would increase recycling of cans and bottles fourfold and reduce litter in Western Australia by about 40%.

3.  Community Benefits

A recycle refund supports community groups by turning container litter into a fundraising opportunity.  The South Australian Scouts make $7m each year whilst supporting community service by our youth and helping clean up the environment.  Sports clubs are also a big beneficiary.

A recycle refund system will significantly reduce the volume of waste going through Council landfill and kerbside systems, easing pressure on rates and thus cost of living pressures on Western Australian families.

4. More than a billion containers go to litter and landfill each year

Of the 1.85 billion drink containers consumed in Western Australia last year (2012), 1.414 billion containers went to litter or landfill.

5. Marine Environment

Drink containers make up around half the plastic pollution in our oceans, with serious consequences for marine wildlife.  For example, up to 85% of Australian seabirds are now impacted by marine plastics.

  “…the birds suffer things like perforations and blockages of the digestive system, or ingested toxins leaching from the plastics.”

“Last week, I removed 442 pieces of plastic from an albatross chick only a few months old.”

Dr Jennifer Lavers, ABC Science, 9th July, 2012

Take action to help, contact your local MP here via Conservation Council of WA…  It requires writing a short email, but one that is very worth your time…



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